Artist Finds Universe of Inspiration in Ubud

“I feel like a seed that has been blown from Sumatra to Ubud, to grow into an artist nurtured by Balinese culture, music and energy.”

The first time I saw Agustian was when I visited Tenganan village to witness the beating of the Pandan or what locals call “The Pandan War.” He was taking part in the action along with his Hindu friends. A few months later, I met him in Ubud at Flava Lounge, drinking tea and talking of setting up his own art gallery.

I thought nothing of this till he dropped by my Balinese homestay to give me an invitation to the opening of his gallery, Lidya Art Gallery, on November 25. It is located on Jalan Raya Lungsiakan, Ubud. The inaugural show will feature a Solo Exhibition of his latest work, which is dedicated to his mother, Ratu Permai. Curious to know more about this enigmatic painter, I visited his studio for a sneak preview of his work. And over a cuppa we chatted about his life and work.

He was born on August 18, 1981, in Lampung, Sumatra. At the age of 16, he met the late Roadya Martadireja, the famous Javanese painter from Bandung, who gave him a bamboo stick with Chinese ink and told him to sketch whatever he saw or imagined everyday for the rest of his life. Agustian didn’t receive any formal or informal training in art. He took to painting immediately as an expression of his perception of life, which was to make it beautiful and lasting.

In 1999 he arrived in Ubud searching for inspiration. Ubud, as he so eloquently puts it, brought him in contact with a higher level of consciousness, culture and art all tied together by spirituality. For him it is a powerful healing place. In fact, it was in Ubud that he became a painter of minimalist, figurative and abstract forms, experimenting with various materials and techniques.

He has come a long way from his maiden show, Banyuwangi Open Air Exhibition, in East Java (2000). After numerous shows at various venues in Ubud, his first international exhibition was at the Momentous Art Gallery Singapore in 2005. This year his works are being exhibited in France at Le Geste, Nice, and Café Desir, Lyon. He couldn’t travel to Europe because of a lack of funds.

Agustian’s work is inspired by Hindu daily life in Ubud. In it he sees the universe beckoning to create on canvases the beauty that surrounds him. His work reflects a rhythm that appeals to the senses.

On his off days from painting, he does the Tari Api (Fire Dance), for a fee of course.

His paintings sell from Rp 2 million (US$214) to Rp 20 million. (MU/BT)

Agustain’s phone number is 081337725181 and email:

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